Ladybug (various)


Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family:    Coccinellidae
Size:    0.3 to 0.4 inch (7.6 to 10 mm)
Weight: Unknown
Diet: Mainly aphids, as well as other insects
Distribution: Worldwide, except for the extreme north and south
Young:  50 to 300 eggs
Animal Predators:  Birds, praying mantis, spiders
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: None
Lifespan: Approximately 1 year



·         The ladybug is the state insect of Tennessee, Massachusetts, Delaware, Ohio and New Hampshire.

·         There are over 5,000 species of ladybugs worldwide.

·         Ladybugs are also known as ladybirds, lady beetles and ladybird beetles.

·         In Sweden, a ladybug walking on the hand of a girl is said to be measuring it for wedding gloves.

·         Medieval Europeans believed ladybugs were sent from heaven to save the crops.

·         In the 1880s, ladybugs imported from Australia to California saved the orange trees from being destroyed by the cushion scale bug.

·         Ladybugs are often thought to be a sign of good luck. 

·         The rhyme “Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, your house is on fire, your children do roam” originated in England from a custom of burning aphid-covered hop vines at harvest time, to warn the ladybugs to fly away to safety. 



There are many different species of ladybugs with different numbers of spots on their back, and although most are red, orange or yellow with black spots, some are black with orange spots. Not all ladybugs have spots—one species is all orange with no spots and another has stripes. Ladybugs are oval-shaped with round topsides and flat undersides. They have soft wings hidden under hard covers called elytra. When they fly, they lift the elytra up to allow the wings to be released. All ladybugs have six legs, one pair of antennae, an exoskeleton and a three-part body consisting of a head, thorax and abdomen. Females are larger than males. 



Ladybugs are found all over the world where the temperatures are warm or mild. In areas where the winters are cold, large numbers of ladybugs hibernate together under a rock or in the crevice of a tree, usually under leaves to keep them warm.


Feeding Habits

Ladybugs eat a huge amount of plant-destroying insects, making them very welcome on farms. All of the species eat insects, with the exception of two, the Mexican bean beetle and the squash ladybird, who eat vegetation. 



The tiny yellow eggs are laid in clusters of 10 to 50 on the underside of leaves. One ladybug can lay from 300 to over 1,000 eggs in her lifetime. The eggs hatch to larva in three to five days. The larvae have large jaws and are usually grey with colourful spots. They feed on other insects and insect eggs. It takes approximately four weeks for the larvae to pass through four growth stages (egg, larva, pupa and adult) before pupating their last larval skin. 



When ladybugs are threatened, they release beetlejuice—a foul tasting fluid—from their joints. After tasting the fluid once, predators such as birds and spiders tend to leave them alone. When the weather starts to cool during autumn, ladybugs look for sheltered places to hibernate. They play dead when in danger, since many predators will not eat an insect that does not move. 



Ladybug numbers dropped due to pesticides but their numbers are now increasing as farmers are buying ladybugs in mass quantities and releasing them on their crops, instead of using pesticides. 



Ladybug Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US